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islam today is a religion that is highly misunderstood, highly misinterpreted and highly misrepresented, especially by the western media. there are many issues today that dwell in the minds of people who seek to know the real truth about islam, yet the avenues that depict islam give them a very bad impression of this way of life. let us embark on a quest to share the truth of many of these misconceptions that are in the back of the minds of many people from all parts of the globe.
the muslim population around the world is approximately 1.4 billion and it
is still growing since islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
muslims range from black in africa, to chinese, to arabs and asians from
the indian subcontinent, actually from all over the world. only 18% of the
muslims are arabs. the largest muslim community is in indonesia. there are
30% in the indian subcontinent, 20% in africa, 18% in the arab world,
17% in south east asia, 10% in russia and china. there are 8 million
muslims in the us alone. so we can see that muslims are not all arab; far
most definitely not. most muslims have only one wife; only a tiny
percentage of muslims worldwide practice polygamy. islam did not bring
about polygamy; rather, it regulated it. before islam, men had as many
women as they wanted and there were no laws as to how they were
treated, as they were considered \u201cproperty\u201d. if we look back in history,
according to the bible abraham had three wives: sarah, hagar and keturah.
some can call them concubines if they wish, but they were married to
them. jacob had two wives, while david and solomon had hundreds. islam
just brought the rules on how to go about it, that a limit of four was set,
with conditions of fair treatment of each one. it is not a free for all; it is
only the permission given to have more than one wife, but not necessarily
four, and only as long as he can guarantee to be fair to each one. the
permission was given in order to make a better society, to help widows
and orphans. since there are more women than men, and as the world goes
due to wars more men are getting killed, islam brings about a solution to
the problem. which is better? a second or third wife that is treated fairly
and equitably, or mistresses without any rights and children who are
this is the biggest misconception that is a result of the media\u2019s islam
bashing. when catholics of northern ireland bombed tube stations in
britain, or gunmen attacked mosques in the name of judaism, or serbs
killed and raped innocent bosnian women and children, their acts were not
attributed to the christian religion. but in the case when a muslim does the
same act, we hear a \u201cmuslim fundamentalist or extremist\u201d. many actions
are perpetrated by muslims in the name of islam for political or personal
gain, which have nothing to do with islam or its teachings. islam
condemns the killing of civilians and in the quran permission is given to
fight in self defense, or to drive out those oppressors who have driven you
out of your land
190. and fight in the way of all\u00e2h those who fight you, but
transgress not the limits. truly, all\u00e2h likes not the
transgressors. [this verse is the first one that was revealed
in connection with jih\u00e2d, but it was supplemented by
191. and kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. and al-fitnah is worse than killing. and fight not with them at al-masjid-al- har\u00e2m (the sanctuary at makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. but if they attack you, then kill them. such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
it is not a license to kill every one but strict rules are attached to
combat in islam. one has no right to cut down trees, to kill old
people, women and children. allah says clearly above in the quran
that he does not like transgressors. the other misconception
attached to this is the misunderstanding that because islam is the
religion of peace then muslims should not fight back when being
attacked but rather turn the other cheek. all over the world muslims
who are being attacked and resist are in turn called terrorist and a
vow is made to exterminate them. in all fairness any nation that is
attacked will defend itself from oppression and occupation, but
muslims are expected to give in and not resist and hand over the
keys. the term jihad is highly misunderstood, a jihad is a struggle
and can take shape of a military struggle or a struggle in owns self.
muslims standing firm on their faith is a big struggle too.
one of the first things shown to women in the west is that islam oppresses them, by forcing them to wear the veil. what is not perceived is that islam in covering women protects them from the evils of the society, since in islam a woman is treated with utmost respect. i am sure one cannot
disrespect the womb that bore him. islam treats women with gentleness
that needs to be protected. this veil is protecting her (married or
unmarried) from the evils of man. islam actually gives rights to women,
when a woman marries in the west she becomes her husband\u2019s property.
she takes her husbands name and loses her family name. her property is
passed on to her husband. whereas in islam the woman retains her maiden
name and her property is hers to do what she pleases. obviously she would
do best to take her husband\u2019s advice on the matter. woman in islam is the
full equal partner for man as allah says in the quran that the spouse is a
garment for one another, because they are supposed to be a comfort for
189 it is he who has created you from a single person (adam), and
(then) he has created from him his wife [hawwa (eve)], in order
that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her.
the prophet mohamed (peace be upon him) taught that \u201cthe best amongst
the men are those who are best to their wives.\u201d there are if not thousands,
but tens of thousands of muslim men who help their wives, who cook and
clean and nurse their wives when they are sick. if islam oppressed women,
we should as ourselves why mainly women are coming to islam. well
educated women not uneducated ones. the dress code in islam is modest
for both men and women. in islam a girl has the right to refuse a marriage
allah is the name for god in arabic. so even an arab christian would say
allah when he is referring to god. allah for the muslims is the only one god
who has no partners, no sons and daughters and wives unlike the ancient
pagan gods. he is neither born nor does he give birth. allah is exactly the
same word which the jews in hebrew use eloha. islam, christianity and
judaism worship the same god, and the prophets they believe in are the
same too. the same messengers brought the same messages at different
time to different people. islam believes in jesus and moses and all other
prophets. islam reveres jesus as one of the greatest porphet sent to
mankind and his mother mary is revered too. more than a whole chapter of
the quran is devoted to mary and prophet jesus (peace be upon them all).
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